AFA National Report

Aug. 1, 2009

Air Force Week in Utah

Air Force Association chapters have celebrated Air Force Week in two cities so far, this year—the Northern Utah Chapter, Salt Lake Chapter, and Ute-Rocky Mountain Chapter in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Langley Chapter in Hampton Roads, Va.

In 2006, Gen. T. Michael Moseley, then USAF Chief of Staff, established Air Force Week as a way to spotlight the service’s personnel, missions, and equipment and to thank residents of three different US cities each year for supporting US airpower. Air Force Week combines activities such as an open house, symposium, and entertainment, and ends with an air show featuring the US Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds. The third city chosen for an Air Force Week celebration in 2009 is Sacramento, Calif., where events will take place from Sept. 5 to 13.

As part of Utah’s Focus on Defense event, AFA Board Chairman Joe Sutter (r) joined (l-r) retired CMSAF Gerald Murray, Jack Murphy, and Pat Condon for a fundraising golf outing. Murphy commanded Ogden Air Logistics Center (1978-81). Condon is a former AFA Board Chairman. The tournament raised $40,000 for aerospace education projects.

In Salt Lake City, Air Force Week took place June 1-7 and included the Utah Air Force Association’s 30th annual Focus on Defense symposium, held at a convention center in Layton, Utah.

Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley and USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz both helped Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. proclaim Air Force Week with a ceremony on the State Capitol steps.

US Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R) and Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R) attended a presymposium social for keynote speakers. Symposium presenters were: Gen. Donald J. Hoffman, commander of Air Force Materiel Command; Lt. Gen. Raymond E. Johns Jr., deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs; Lt. Gen. Loren M. Reno, deputy chief of staff for logistics, installations, and mission support; Maj. Gen. R. Mike Worden, Air Combat Command vice commander; and Brig. Gen. Everett H. Thomas, commander of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center.

The symposium gave USAF, defense industry, and local business leaders a chance to understand each others’ mission and requirements. Karl E. McCleary, chairman of the event and a Northern Utah Chapter member, told the Hill Air Force Base newspaper that attendees always come away from this symposium with firsthand information that they can directly apply in their everyday work.

Focus on Defense and fundraising social events held in conjunction with it have raised more than $770,000 for AFA Utah’s aerospace education foundation.

Air Force Week in Virginia

In Hampton Roads, Air Force Week ran from April 18 to 26 and incorporated Airpower Over Hampton Roads, Langley Air Force Base’s annual air show.

Among other roles, the Langley Chapter facilitated commercial sponsorships, raising funds to cover the civilian air show performers’ costs. These expenses included fuel, ground transportation, and catering. Chapter President Blair Ellis said the chapter’s contributions allowed the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley to carry out the show without relying solely on government funds.

Ellis said chapter member Jeffrey J. Blessing took the lead as air show liaison to the wing, with Ellis and Monte R. Correll, the chapter treasurer, keeping the planning and execution “on track.” However, the “true architect of the event,” Ellis said, was Dale Drumright, who works for the chapter as air show manager.

Ellis said the chapter “is honored to help the 1st Fighter Wing showcase Air Force capabilities, enhance recruiting, and enhance the public image of the Air Force.”

Airpower Over Hampton Roads 2009 drew 188,000 visitors. Periodically throughout the two-day air show, the announcer specifically thanked the Langley Chapter for its sponsorship.

Helping Them Move Forward

S. Sanford Schlitt, AFA’s Vice Chairman of the Board for Aerospace Education, received orientations to Florida’s Hurlburt Field and Eglin Air Force Base, including the Air Armament Center, in May. He also spoke at the Eglin Chapter’s dinner meeting, met with Eglin and Hurlburt Chapter officials, visited with AFA’s National Teacher of the Year, and toured the Air Force Enlisted Village, home for surviving spouses of USAF retirees, in Shalimar.

At an education-appreciation banquet held at Eglin’s Air Force Armament Museum, Schlitt was guest speaker and helped honor eight AFA scholarship recipients from local JROTC units and two aviation institutes. Northwest Florida Daily News reported that 120 attended this banquet. Schlitt said of the awardees, “These are kids who’ve already expressed a love for country and an interest in serving. We’re just helping them move forward.”

While in the area, Schlitt met six aerospace teachers, including Tom D. Godbold, named the Eglin Chapter’s 2009 Teacher of the Year, and Leo F. Murphy, AFA’s 2008 National Aerospace Teacher of the Year.

Apollo 10 Commemoration

In Oklahoma, the Central Oklahoma (Gerrity) Chapter carried out a special request from the guest of honor of a 40th anniversary spaceflight commemoration.

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford, who was Apollo 10’s commander for the May 1969 mission, was the main honoree of the anniversary, held in May in his home state. Apollo 10 was, in effect, a dress rehearsal for the Moon landing that took place two months later.

As planning for the 40th anniversary got under way, Stafford asked that 10 high school students be invited to the celebration. Chapter member Rick A. Buschelman said that the chapter—headed by James F. Diehl—took on the task and set Mark L. Tarpley, aerospace education VP, to work. Tarpley contacted schools that had ties to AFA through the teacher of the year program, Air Force JROTC, or the Visions of Exploration Program. Visions is a joint effort by AFA and USA Today to interest students in studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through newspaper articles on those subjects.

The chapter paid all costs for the 10 students selected to attend the banquet and assigned them escorts: Buschelman, James Putnam, Jennifer Condon-Pracht, and Marcia Walker.

Before a reception that opened the evening’s commemoration, the students met Stafford and former astronaut Eugene A. Cernan, who was the lunar module pilot for the mission. The students also received commemorative coins and were formally introduced to the audience of some 350 guests.

Convention: California

The Bob Hope Chapter hosted an event-filled California State Convention at March Air Reserve Base near Riverside, Calif., over three days in May.

A Thursday evening reception at the base’s Hap Arnold Conference Center kicked off events. Friday’s golf tournament raised funds for the state’s AFA aerospace education foundation. Convention-goers toured the base to take in the Predator unit, a C-17 simulator, the Air and Marine Operations Center, and the F-16 alert area.

An awards ceremony that evening took place at the March Field Air Museum, where David T. Buckwalter, AFA’s executive vice president, was guest speaker. Thirty-one awards went to the state’s outstanding AFA members that night.

AFA state leaders were elected at Saturday’s business session: Martin W. Ledwitz from the San Gabriel Valley Chapter, as president; George E. Williams, from the same chapter, secretary; Nancy J. Driscoll—currently president of the host Bob Hope Chapter—treasurer; and as area VPs, Enrico R. Valentia from the Brig. Gen. Robert F. Travis Chapter, Frank D. Walterscheid from the Maj. Gen. Charles I. Bennett Jr. Chapter, and Louis J. Kridelbaugh of the General Doolittle Los Angeles Area Chapter.

Norman A. Marous of the Robert H. Goddard Chapter was master of ceremonies for the evening’s Military Awards Ceremony, also held at the Hap Arnold Conference Center. The 4th Air Force commander, Brig. Gen. Eric W. Crabtree, served as guest speaker, addressing the convention’s theme, “Women in Flight History and the Air Force.” Awards that evening went to outstanding personnel and units of the Total Force, AFROTC, AFJROTC, Civil Air Patrol, and—for the first time—the California State Military Reserve. The CSMR is the state defense force, controlled by the governor, trained to handle National Guard responsibilities.

Educational scholarships and area and state Teachers of the Year received recognition at the awards ceremony, as did Driscoll—named Member of the Year—and Brig. Gen. Robert P. Otto, the Person of the Year. Otto is 9th Reconnaissance Wing commander at Beale AFB, Calif., site of next year’s convention in the Golden State.

You Will Be Impressed

In encouraging the Tennessee Valley Chapter (Ala.) members to volunteer to present AFJROTC awards to local cadets, Chapter President Frederick Driesbach wrote that they would see “great things the ROTC instructors have accomplished in making some ‘True Blue’ citizens out of some otherwise Xbox-oriented kids—You will be impressed.”

He added, “Being in uniform is not a requirement, but wear of dress blues is appropriate if they still fit.”

The uniform still fit retired Col. John R. Phillip, chapter aerospace education VP. He presented three Air Force Junior ROTC cadets in the Huntsville, Ala., area with $500 college scholarships from the chapter.

At Huntsville High School, Anya Mullins was the recipient. Marcell Battle received the award at Butler High School. At Bob Jones High School, chapter members Russell V. Lewey and Otha H. Vaughan Jr. joined Phillip to present Matthew Jones with a scholarship. Phillip said this is the third year that the chapter has awarded these scholarships. They are “a performance motivator among the seniors within each ROTC unit,” he said.

More Chapter News

In May, Iowa’s AFA chapters, including the Gen. Charles A. Horner Chapter and the Fort Dodge Chapter, paid tribute to a hometown hero, Medal of Honor recipient retired Col. George E. Day. Born in Sioux City, Iowa, Day now lives in Florida, a member of the Eglin Chapter. In August 1967, he was a forward air controller-pilot on an F-100 that was shot down over North Vietnam. He became a POW but managed to escape to the demilitarized zone before being recaptured. He spent 5.5 years in captivity. Day became an attorney and championed Tricare for Life—military health care coverage to beneficiaries 65 years of age or older. Iowa’s AFA dinner for Day took place at a hotel in a Des Moines suburb and, along with a presentation by Day, featured the musical group Raptor from Offutt AFB, Neb. As State President Marvin L. Tooman said, “It was a gala evening.”

The Charleston Chapter (S.C.)—headed by Ronald I. Powell—hosted the South Carolina State Convention in May, with James R. Lauducci, AFA’s Vice Chairman of the Board for Field Operations, as the awards luncheon guest speaker. Charleston Chapter VP Arthur J. Rooney Jr. reported that Lauducci encouraged chapters to offer activities that will interest younger USAF and defense-industry personnel to become involved in AFA. State President Rodgers K. Greenawalt took home the state’s Member of the Year award. USAF awardees from Charleston Air Force Base were SSgt. Daniel Gutowski, 15th Airlift Squadron, named both Outstanding Aviator and Outstanding Air Force Person, and a husband and wife team: Capt. Heather Mueller, 437th Aerial Port Squadron, who received the logistics award, and Capt. Frederick Mueller, 437th Airlift Wing, receiving the mission support award. Conventioneers included Strom Thurmond Chapter President Victor Janushkowsky, Swamp Fox Chapter President David T. Hanson, and Columbia Palmetto Chapter President Deborah L. Marshall.

With chapter members handling key elements, the Tidewater Chapter (Va.) hosted a major event, its second annual Aviation Heritage Gala. First, Community Partner Gerald Yagen provided the program and the venue: the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, Va. Second, chapter member retired Lt. Col. Gordon R. Strong organized his AFJROTC cadets from Grassfield High School in Chesapeake for setup, serving, and cleanup duties. A Kiwanis Club provided the food, and some 250 guests enjoyed music from an Army band. The museum is located at the Virginia Beach Airport and comprises about 30 World War II and Korean War aircraft. Chapter President William M. Cuthriell noted that another 30 are undergoing restoration and that Yagen told the gala audience that more buildings are planned for the museum.

In Alabama, Tennessee Valley Chapter and State Teacher of the Year, Lynn Toney, received such an abundance of awards at a school board meeting in May that at least two local newspapers highlighted the presentation from among more than 100 teachers and students receiving recognition that evening. Chapter President Frederick Driesbach first presented Toney, a resource teacher at Boaz (Ala.) Intermediate School, with $250 and an AFA tote bag, as chapter Teacher of the Year. Susan Mallett, state aerospace education VP and a Montgomery Chapter member, then presented Toney with State Teacher of the Year awards: $500, a commemorative plaque, and an AFA windbreaker. Toney was selected for the awards in part for developing a science lab that gives students experience with robotics, hydraulics, and engineering.

The Langley Chapter (Va.) joined with the Virginia Air and Space Center in presenting the 2009 Chapter Teacher of the Year Award to Penny Vaughn during a luncheon June 9 at the Langley Air Force Base Officers Club. Vaughn teaches sixth grade science at Tabb Middle School in Yorktown. Chapter President Blair Ellis, Jerry L. Levesque, chapter aerospace education VP, and the center’s deputy director, Kim K. Hinson, presented the award to Vaughn. She received $1,000 and a year’s membership in both AFA and the VASC, and the center will honor her with an engraved gold star displayed at its Hampton, Va., facility. This is the second year that the Langley Chapter has partnered with the center for this award. In addition to supplementing the award, the VASC advertises it at workshops and in their educational guide.

The Columbus-Bakalar Chapter’s May meeting in Columbus, Ind., featured State President William R. Grider as guest speaker. A member of the Grissom Memorial Chapter in Kokomo, Grider presented an overview of trends in the military budget, end strength, and age and readiness of equipment, as well as information on the F-22 and F-35.

On Memorial Day weekend, the Long Island Chapter (N.Y.) manned a display table, as spectators streamed by during the Bethpage Federal Credit Union New York Air Show at Jones Beach State Park. Fred Di Fabio, chapter treasurer, said the AFA table was so close to the vintage aircraft on display that chapter members had “a great opportunity to interact with the spectators as they came to see the aircraft.” Crowd numbers? The official count was more than 400,000, according to the air show Web site. Lending support to the AFA table were New York State President Alphonse A. Parise, chapter communications VP William Birnbach, and members Frank T. Logan III, Robert Braverman, and Paul R. DeVaul.

Jerry E. White from the Lance P. Sijan Chapter (Colo.) represented AFA at the US Air Force Academy’s 50th annual Outstanding Squadron celebration. The academy’s Cadet Squadron 3, nicknamed “Cerberus Dogs of War,” received the honors this year, with cadets Elijah Culpepper—now a second lieutenant—and Bradley Sapper accepting the prestigious award from White at the academy’s organizational awards parade. AFA partners with the academy’s Association of Graduates in sponsoring the Outstanding Squadron award and formal banquet.

Hawaii Chapter President Nora Ruebrook selected the chapter vice president, Capt. Stephanie A. Dye, to represent the Air Force Association at the Memorial Day ceremony held at Honolulu’s National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Accompanied by Capt. Billy Dye, Stephanie Dye presented an AFA wreath. The Dyes were among more than 35 veterans organizations participating in the ceremony, which was attended by L. Tammy Duckworth, assistant secretary of veterans affairs, US Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D), US Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D), and US Rep. Mazie Hirono (D). Stephanie Dye is assigned to Pacific Command’s plans directorate. Billy Dye is from the 535th Airlift Squadron, Hickam AFB, Hawaii.

As part of the Francis Marion Military Academy’s “Rocketry Days” in May, the Red Tail Memorial Chapter in Ocala, Fla., sponsored its first workshop. Chapter President Michael H. Emig said the charter school’s students, their families, and teachers from middle and high schools in the county all took part in a six-hour rockets-and-math session. They built model “rockets” with construction paper, a rocket from a kit, and a payload-capable rocket model. The workshop’s math segment taught them how to calculate time, distance, and altitude for their rockets. Among the instructors were the school’s John R. Edsall, who is also a chapter member, and Gregory S. Stritch, from the Falcon Chapter.

Col. H. M. “Bud” West Chapter (Fla.) members manned an information table during AirFest 2009, sponsored by the Experimental Aircraft Association and held at Tallahassee Regional Airport on May 16. Chapter President Gary B. Sharpe, VP John E. Schmidt Jr., and chapter member Kevin Vislocky provided visitors with AFA information and distributed copies of the May Almanac issue of Air Force Magazine.

Welcome aboard! At a luncheon meeting in Marina, Calif., the Monterey Bay Area Chapter president, John J. Branson Jr., presented a Community Partner plaque to Robert O. Grimes, commander of the local American Legion post. Branson, a retired Navy commander and former carrier pilot, credited Richard B. Peckham, the communications VP, and Stanley J. Hryn, chapter secretary-treasurer, for recruiting Grimes as a Community Partner—part of the chapter’s effort to encourage like-minded organizations to join AFA.

The Southern Indiana Chapter’s quarterly meeting in Bloomington, Ind., featured local resident and motivational speaker Elizabeth Lyon. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a central nervous system disease, she continues to compete in marathons. Chapter President Marcus R. Oliphant reported that 60 people attended the meeting, and the chapter donated $200 to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Unit Reunions

307th ARS. Oct. 15-18 at the Dedham Hilton Hotel in Dedham, MA. Contact: Dix Howard (

340th BW, including all Whiteman AFB personnel (1950-63). Sept. 10-13 in Branson, MO. Contact: Bob Barnhill, 277 Sandhill Rd., Lonoke, AR 72086 (501-676-2305) (

610th/618th ACW Sq, including the 527th ACW Gp, 43rd AD, Japan (1945-60). Sept. 27-30 in Branson, MO. Contact: John Rosso (661-832-6036) (

1198th Operational Evaluation & Tng Sq. Oct. 25-27 at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas. Contact: Norm Pfeifer, 9201 Fallworth St., San Antonio, TX 78254 (210-522-1309) (

7405th and 7580th Ops Sq, Rhein-Main AB, Germany. Oct. 2-4 at the Holiday Inn in Fairborn, OH. Contact: Michael Hushion (937-320-1998) (

B-57 Canberra Assn. Sept. 17-21 in Colorado Springs, CO. Contact: Gayle Johnson (920-261-3879) (

Lockbourne AFB, OH. Oct. 15-18 at Nativo Lodge, Albuquerque, NM. Contacts: Betty Cea (740-392-7750) (bcea@roadrunner. com) or Gus Letto (505-821-8740) (

Pilot Tng Class 61-D. Oct 18-22 in San Antonio. Contacts: Lee Taylor ( or Dick Trzaskoma (

Unit reunion notices should be sent four months ahead of the event to, or mail notices to “Unit Reunions,” Air Force Magazine, 1501 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA 22209-1198. Please designate the unit holding the reunion, time, location, and a contact for more information. We reserve the right to condense notices.


Guest speaker Elizabeth Lyon speaks to a Southern Indiana Chapter meeting.

Col. H. M. “Bud” West Chapter President Gary Sharpe (r) and VP John Schmidt Jr. man a table at an air show in Tallahassee, Fla.

Hawaii Chapter Vice President Capt. Stephanie Dye and Capt. Billy Dye presented a wreath at the Memorial Day ceremony in Honolulu.

At an Iowa gala, Medal of Honor recipient Bud Day (third from right) poses with AFA state officials: L-r: Patti Timmerman, Chuck McDonald, Marvin Tooman, Harley Thornton, Justin Faiferlick, and Deann Faiferlick.

Former astronaut Thomas Stafford (center) greets Dennis Bond of Edmond North High School. Central Oklahoma (Gerrity) Chapter’s Rick Buschelman is at left.

Penny Vaughn holds the Langley Chapter’s Teacher of the Year Award, presented by (l-r): Jerry Levesque, chapter aerospace education VP; Kim Hinson, Virginia Air and Space Center; Susan Rhew, Tabb Middle School principal; and Chapter President Blair Ellis.

Monterey Bay Area Chapter President John Branson Jr. (r) presents a Community Partner plaque to Robert Grimes, the local American Legion post commander.

Sandy Schlitt, Vice Chairman, Aerospace Education (fourth from left), met Florida teachers (l-r) Tim Hester, Jacque Whittle, Megan Tucker, Rick Soria, Leo Murphy, and Tom Godbold.

At the Air Force Academy, Jerry White (center) from the Lance P. Sijan Chapter, presents Bradley Sapper (left) and Elijah Culpepper with the Outstanding Squadron Award.

Langley Chapter lined up Dale Drumright (r) to manage the air show at Langley AFB, Va. The Thunderbirds performed there, supported by team maintainer SSgt. Earl Armstrong (l).

During Tidewater Chapter’s annual gala, National Director Scott Van Cleef (left) and Chapter President William Cuthriell stand beside a P-51 owned by Gerald Yagen (in the pilot’s seat).

At the state convention, California State President Martin Ledwitz (l) and Brig. Gen. Eric Crabtree (center), 4th Air Force commander, present the Person of the Year award to Brig. Gen. Robert Otto, 9th Reconnaissance Wing commander.

Lynn Toney accepts awards from Susan Mallett, Alabama state aerospace education VP. John Phillip is at left. Tennessee Valley Chapter President Rick Driesbach is at right.